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Updated on July 15, 2013


Whether you are cooking in a cupboard or a rambling family room,here is how to make the best of it.Of all  the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the most difficult and nerve-racking to plan, because it doesn't give you a second chance. In the sitting room, dining room and bedroom, for instance, you can shunt around furniture until you have got it right. But you can't juggle creatively with things like cookers, sinks and washing machines. once they are connected or plumbed in, that is virtually that, so it's worth the effort to get it right first time.


The shape of your kitchen will determine its potential. If it 's small, and longer than it's wide, you have no choice but to go for a galley kitchen. In a very narrow room (see the left-hand kitchen over the picture), this will mean ranging everything down the length of one wall, although you could-as shown there- continue round the width too, if door and window positions permit it. A less narrow room offers double the scope, because you can range things down the length of both walls. The small galley kitchen is so restricted in area, it's always advisable to install fitted units. This is partly because they use space to maximum advantage, and partly because they give a streamlined appearance -essential in a room that would look claustrophobic if cluttered.
If you can only fit units down the length of one wall, try to exploit it to the full. Choose base cupboards with a width of 600 mm (23 1/2 in) rather than 500 mm(193/4in), (Width is the measurement front-to-back, not side-to-side)
Aim to use the wall virtually from floor to ceiling- most manufacturers make tall as well as standard top cupboards, and although their  upper regions are note easy to reach, they are useful for seldom-used items. There are also 'midway' units which fit between base and top cupboards.

Tow-Way stretch
If you are fitting units down the length every inch of both walls, with a floor-to-ceiling arrangement either side. Although it could work with all-white units in an all-white setting, it often runs the risk of looking walled-in and oppressive. The kitchen on use open ground-level storage with nothing above to balance the solid wall of units opposite. Of course, this is a stylish, high-tech kitchen, but even with a more conventional approach-unless you really need to use every inch-it might be wise to provide a breathing space by confining one wall to just bottom cupboards.

Either way, to fit units along two facing walls, you will need to ensure that there will be a space of about 120 cm (4ft) between unit fronts to avoid the possibility of cupboard doors colliding. If you have slightly less there are alternatives. You could choose units with sliding doors, bearing in mind that it only takes a few breadcrumbs to gum up the runners and when open, you can only see into half the cupboard. Other doors that open in the middle; doors that fold in the middle; and up-and-over doors. As these tend to be confined to the more expensive ranges, you might simply prefer to go for narrower units.

Remember though, that this will mean a narrower work surface.

Even flexible sizing doesn't come cheap, however, so if you are tight for money as well as space you could consider using top cupboards as bottom cupboards, spanning them with a custom-made counter-top. (Obviously this improvisation could only work in conjunction with the width to take equipment and provide a serious work surface.) Alternatively, you could use narrow open shelving opposite conventional units but only if you are a really disciplined person who will keep the contents regimentally neat.

Ideally all doors into the kitchen should open outwards. If this isn't possible in a small kitchen, switch to bi-fold doors that use half the usual floor-space; or sliding doors or concertina doors that use up none at all.



 With a larger oblong room, you can create a neat L-shape by filling one long wall and one shorter wall with units-the green kitchen on provides a classic example. This arrangement has the advantage of leaving plenty of floor-area free, and is ideal for for people who like room to man oeuvre.

It's a good idea to start from the corner unit and work out from either side.

Then any odd gaps at the ends can be filled by work surface with vertically divided tray-space underneath or, better still from a streamlining point of view, with a narrow infill panel. Manny unit-manufacturer now make these for a perfect wall-to-wall fit.


This arrangement uses three out of the kitchen's four walls, and is suitable for square or squares rooms. Basically this i the shape used in the kitchen on because although they are open plan in both cases the peninsular bar, which has units underneath, creates a third wall in working terms.

Whereas in galley kitchens, everything is immediately to hand in U-shaped and longer L-shaped kitchens. there is inevitably a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the key areas of cooker, sink and fridge. This is what the exports call, the work triangle and in theory, you should be able to make the entire round trip in about 6 meters (6 yards). The most important distance to watch is between sink and hob, because this is the path that is most frequently trodden. It's up to you, though how stringently you adhere to this theory.


Many of the kitchen on these pages are open-plan but even so the actual kitchen areas conform to the three basic shapes, adapted to suit particular requirements. If you look at the example on picture. it a conventional galley kitchen if you look at the main kitchen on it's basically a conventional U-shape. But think long and hard before opting for an open' plan situation-even a limited one, that combines just dining and cooking areas, without incorporating the living room.

The main thing is to be realistic about your own capabilities. If you are lucky enough to be a relaxed and natural cook, you will enjoy the fact that you can join in the conversation with family and friends while preparing the meals. But less easy-going cooks may prefer peace and privacy to concentrate on the pots and pans-and curse and mutter to themselves with impunity. If you know you prefer privacy, but only have space for the merest sliver of a kitchen, yet hate the idea of being shut in a cupboard one compromise might be to have a simple opening in the wall. Then although your field of vision would allow you to see nearly all the room beyond, only a small part of the kitchen would be visible from the other room.

Separate tables.

When planning a kitchen cum-dining room where all meals are eaten (not just family snacks and breakfasts), there are essentially two ways of going about it. You can include the table within the kitchen; or divide the room into separate areas one for cooking and one for eating.

The first approach demands lots of space, You need clearance of at last a meter (a yard) between the edges of work surfaces and the backs of dining chairs to enable people to get up from the table freely. See the farmhouse-style kitchen on for idea of the space required.

The second approach requires you to define separate areas while still retaining a relationship between them. The easiest way to do this is with a peninsular unit, which also provides a useful serving area. But if you want a division that provides more privacy, you could use tall or floor-to-ceiling, free-standing shelves, and fill them with your best-looking casseroles and storage jars, adducing a few leafy houseplants to soften the effect. A

traditional dresser turned end-on, try to provide a cooker hood in the kitchen area, so the smell of the first course won't still be lingering by the time diner have reached the pudding stage.
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    • Laila Rajaratnam profile image

      Laila Rajaratnam 6 years ago from India

      Great hub..loved this:)

    • Balinese profile image

      Balinese 6 years ago from Ireland

      great info - as i love hang out in the kitchen alot :)

      thanks for sharing